“This season [fans will] know has been wild, because we had McDreamy back the first episode,” Luddington, 37, said on The Kelly Clarkson Show in a clip released on Friday, March 26, referring to Patrick Dempsey‘s appearance earlier this season. “I’m telling everyone to watch live because we have so many crazy unexpected people coming back that you wouldn’t imagine. … We have a lot of surprises this season!”
The actress, who plays Jo Wilson on the medical drama, also mentioned the recent announcement that Sarah Drew will be returning in an upcoming episode, bringing back her character of April Kepner, who left the show unexpectedly in 2018 after starring in nine seasons.
Additionally, Chyler Leigh‘s Lexie Grey, who starred on the show for seasons 4 through 8, will appear on the Thursday, April 1, episode. In the first sneak peek of her cameo, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) was shown reuniting with her sister on the beach. When Leigh, 38, chose to leave the ABC show in 2012, her character was killed in a plane crash.
The Supergirl actress is only the latest deceased character to return this season. Meredith also reunited with her late husband, Derek Shepherd, and T.R. Knight’s George O’Malley via her COVID dream. In the new teaser promoting Leigh’s appearance, Meredith admits she “likes” being on the beach, and her sister asks, “Are you gonna stay?”
After Dempsey’s first appearance, showrunner Krista Vernoff detailed the decision to use dreams brought on by the coronavirus as a way to bring back past characters.
“There have been studies about how our dream life has been. In the pandemic, people are having really intense dreams because of the lockdown,” the producer told Deadline in November 2020. “We’re not getting enough stimulation, and so, it’s happening in our dreams. So, it started as that. It started as, how do we give people some escape. I had this imagining of a beach motif throughout the season, and I called Ellen, and I said, what if we bring back, I don’t know, some dead character that you could dream of on the beach, that would be so fun for the fans.”
Grey’s Anatomy airs on ABC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.